Mont-Tremblant: Bell Motorsports race report

Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac ...

Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54; Gets a Podium Finish Sunday at Mont-Tremblant

MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, May 23 - It certainly wasn't easy, but the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need Racing team and its Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54 finished third in the Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant Rolex series race Sunday at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

Celebrating on the podium at the end of the day was a just reward for drivers Terry Borcheller and Andy Pilgrim, who represented team owner Jim Bell and the rest of the crew in a true team effort. The third driver on the squad, car owner Forest Barber, chose not to drive Sunday in order to see if the two professional drivers on the team could get the car back up through the field after it went one lap down after Pilgrim was hit by another driver and spun. (The other team involved apologized, and Pilgrim said it was just a racing accident.)

That wasn't the biggest challenge though. There was a problem with the nuts that hold the car's wheels on, and twice they loosened up on Borcheller. (Barber had the same problem in practice and actually crashed.) Sunday Borcheller didn't crash, but he had to drive back to the pits on three wheels after the left-front wheel left the car on the backstretch.

After overcoming all of that, fuel strategy came into play at the end. Team strategist Thomas Blam gambled and told Borcheller not to pit, correctly calculating that the car had enough fuel to go the distance. It did, and Borcheller took the checkered in third behind only the winner, the Scott Pruett/Max Papis CompUSA entry, and the runner-up, the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus of Didier Theys and Jan Magnussen.

Post-race quotes follow:

TERRY BORCHELLER: "To come out of the weekend with a podium finish is great. We had obstacles from the beginning of the weekend throughout the whole race. Andy got hit on his first flying lap and we went a lap down. A front wheel came off twice; luckily it was under yellow both times. One time it came totally off the car. That happened on the backstraight; I had to drive it back to the pits on three wheels. But it was fun to always be in contention. I drove about four hours and my muscles are tired, but I really feel fine. I could drink some water and go some more today. Phoenix was worse."

ANDY PILGRIM: "I think it was the hardest-fought third place I've ever had. We overcame so many challenges that it feels like a win. We did not have a top-three car today; we had a top-10 car. So to get third is a phenomenal achievement for the team. I got hit by the Michael Shank car; that's why I spun. It was just a racing thing; they apologized. But the car was not straight after that. The wheel nuts were coming off; they came off twice while Terry was in the car, and once the whole wheel came off and Terry had to drive it back into the pits from the backstretch. But Thomas Blam, our strategist, did a terrific job and so did the entire crew. Terry drove the first two hours, I drove the second two hours and Terry drove the last two hours. It was a tough, tough race."

FOREST BARBER: "I didn't drive because I was more concerned with our finishing position today, and we had to go with our top drivers. In spite of a lot of obstacles, we overcome them and got a podium finish for the Kodak EasyShare team. Our Pontiac engine was terrific. We had great pit strategy by Thomas Blam; not pitting for fuel near the end gave us a chance. Mechanically the car was good but we had a problem with our wheel nuts. But if was a good podium finish for the Bell Motorsports crew, and hopefully this is the beginning of the end of some unfortunate luck we've had this year."

-br-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Scott Pruett , Andy Pilgrim , Terry Borcheller , Forest Barber , Michael Shank